New COVID-19 testing site in Brainerd
the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced a new COVID-19 testing site at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, part of a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Testing at this site will occur Thursday, Dec. 17 through Saturday, Dec. 19. The site will be set up as a walk-thru, with participants self-administering a nasal swab test. The site has capacity for approximately 480 tests per day. Appointments are strongly encouraged, but not required.
“Testing is a key component of our strategy to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Through a robust, collaborative statewide testing program, we have made great progress in removing obstacles to testing. When combined with social distancing, masking, avoiding crowds and staying home when sick, testing can help us slow the spread of COVID-19 and bridge to the better days we know are coming.”
“Our COVID-19 testing strategy has been data-driven since day one with the goal of offering low-barrier testing for every Minnesotan who needs it. The sooner we identify positive cases, the sooner infected individuals can take steps to isolate and stop the spread of the virus,” said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection. “Our partnerships from the federal to the local levels are an important element of a community testing strategy that has allowed the state to conduct more than half a million COVID-19 tests in all corners of the state. We want people to get tested, even if they’re asymptomatic. By providing more options, we make it more likely that people will get tested and help us stop the spread of the virus.”
This testing event is part of a federal effort to provide temporary federal support in areas that have seen a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The site is made up of three components: federal government support, federal contractor support, and state and local support. It is the second site of its kind in Minnesota; the first was held in Blaine from Dec. 7 through Dec. 12.
The Brainerd site is a coordinated effort between the State of Minnesota, HHS, the Minnesota National Guard, Crow Wing County Public Health, Central Lakes College, and eTrueNorth (eTN). The State of Minnesota and National Guard are providing support, including non-medical personnel, site management, and traffic control. HHS is providing resources such as personal protective equipment, cloth face coverings and community mitigation guidance. The federal contractor, eTrueNorth, is providing support including online registration, test kits, and notification of lab results. The lab processing the test samples is Health Quest Esoterics in Irvine, California. eTrueNorth will notify participants of their test results via email within approximately three to five days.
“This is a very convenient way to get tested close to home with fast results,” said Brainerd Lakes Chamber President Matt Kilian. “Our chamber strongly encourages local businesses and their teams to take advantage of this opportunity, especially those in quarantine or questioning whether they were exposed to the virus. It’s another step to get our economy back on track.”
“With much of the focus today being around the release of an effective and safe vaccine, it is important to have our community continue to be vigilant for symptoms and continue to test for COVID-19,” said Crow Wing County Public Health Supervisor Michelle Moritz. “Individuals should also test five to seven days after they have been in close contact with other individuals that have tested positive. This clinic will give many the opportunity to test regardless of symptoms or close contact. It will be important to know your COVID-19 status before making plans for the holidays.”
“Testing saves lives when people know their COVID-19 status and are then able to isolate away from others to prevent further spread,” continued Supervisor Moritz. “While we are excited to soon have a vaccine and end this pandemic, we our community to help get our kids back to school and business back open by slowing the spread until we have the majority of our community vaccinated. Testing can be quick, easy, and now without a doctor’s order.”
Testing is open to anyone who believes they need a COVID-19 test, with or without insurance. State guidance on who should get tested was recently updated and can be found on the Minnesota COVID-19 Response webpage, Who Should Get Tested?.
“The Trump Administration is standing up surge testing sites to support areas hard hit by COVID-19. Surge testing is one of many tools the federal government can deploy to assist local leadership to reduce community spread of the virus,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Brett Giroir, M.D. “The intent of surge testing efforts is to help state, local and federal public health experts identify new cases, including those that may be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.”
Individuals seeking testing can register at Do I Need a COVID-19 Test?. Test results can be accessed by logging into this same portal after receiving an email notification that results are ready.
Testing Site Location:
Central Lakes College – Gymnasium
501 W College Dr
Brainerd, MN 56401
Hours of Operation:
Thursday, Dec. 17 – Friday, Dec. 18
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 19
10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.